Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a press conference in Utica to announce the $1 billion in emergency supplemental Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding she fought to secure in the recently passed continuing resolution. LIHEAP is a federal program that helps millions of Americans, including over 1 million New York households, heat their homes and will be especially critical this winter as residential energy costs are expected to rise drastically. This aid will deliver an estimated $60 million in support for New Yorkers to defray their home energy costs. Senator Gillibrand was joined by Mayor Robert Palmieri and Oneida County Legislator Evon Ervin at Olbiston Apartments, a low-income housing development that will include 153 apartments affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
“LIHEAP provides a lifeline for thousands of low-income families in Oneida County,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As winter approaches and the cost of groceries and other essentials remains high, many simply cannot afford to pay exorbitant heating bills. Today, I’m proud to stand in Utica to deliver an estimated $60 million in emergency supplemental LIHEAP funding for our state. I fought for this additional money to ensure that New Yorkers who rely on LIHEAP assistance have what they need to heat their homes all winter and I will keep fighting to make sure every New Yorker can afford essentials and stay safe and warm.”
“The expansion of low-income HEAP benefits is critical to meeting the needs of our residents. We need to assure people that they can afford to stay warm and safe through winter. I commend Sen. Gillibrand for her commitment to working with local governments to meet the needs of our shared constituents. Whether it’s the pressing need for housing, rebuilding our aging infrastructure, preserving our historical landmarks, or meeting rising costs, Sen. Gillibrand and our partners in the U.S. Senate continue to be there for Utica.” -Mayor Robert M. Palmieri
“With so many families and individuals facing various crises, having your utilities cut off will not be one of them due to the Heap Program. Also home owners that qualify use the program to ensure their heating equipment is safe and functional.” -Evon M Ervin, Oneida County Legislator
Senator Gillibrand has consistently worked to help New Yorkers afford their utilities. This $60 million in funding for LIHEAP in New York comes following a bipartisan, bicameral letter she joined in August calling on congressional leadership to provide emergency supplemental funding for LIHEAP.
Earlier this year, Senator Gillibrand called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to use its statutory authority to ensure that Americans’ household energy bills would not be driven up by energy market manipulation in wholesale natural gas and electricity markets. Last year, she called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the ongoing energy crisis and ensure families that rely on LIHEAP had the resources they needed to stay warm through the winter. When millions of workers were laid off at the onset of the pandemic, Senator Gillibrand fought alongside her colleagues to deliver $900 million in LIHEAP funding in the CARES Act and an additional $4.5 billion in supplemental funding to the program as part of the American Rescue Plan. She is also a cosponsor of the Heating and Cooling Relief Act, which would expand LIHEAP to universalize energy assistance for all of those who need it.
Starting November 1st, households in Utica can apply for HEAP benefits online at myBenefits.ny.gov, with the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency or at the HEAP Local District Contact at the Oneida County Department of Social Services, or by mailing a completed application to the Oneida County Department of Social Services. Starting January 3rd, households can apply for additional funding through the emergency HEAP benefit in person or in writing through the Oneida County Department of Social Services. There is no online option.